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April 1 2011
By Paul Vetter
The much anticipated season opener at Giant Chevrolet Raceway at Plaza Park 1/5 mile clay oval saw racers in four classes compete on an unseasonably warm spring evening. Three normal classes, Super 600, Restricted 600 and Junior Sprints were joined by the Non Winged 600 as drivers were competing in the King of California series in conjunction with the nearby Lemoore Raceway.
After Trent Carter set fast time for the 28 cars on hand in the Super 600’s, he then failed to turn another lap during the evening. Heat race wins went to Paul Javaux, Austin Stone, Michael Faccinto and Richard VanderWeerd. The dreaded Semi Main which transferred six into the feature found Jake Hagopian the head of the class.
The 30 lap feature found front row starter Michael Faccinto take an immediate lead over Knute Mynderup and T.J. Smith. A slowdown on lap six found John Collins and Garrett Netto involved in a turn two scuffle. With Faccinto leading Mynderup, Richard VanderWeerd moved into third and then into second on lap twelve.
A long series of green flag laps then saw Ryan Reeves move into third during the lapping process. A red flag at the end of lap 22 was for Reeves who was upside down into turn one after involvement with D.J. Netto. Both drivers were unhurt but out of action. Class rookie Scott Parker pitted on the restart.
Faccinto paced the final seven laps in his new Pace Chassis to take the win over R. VanderWeerd, brother Mitchell Faccinto who restarted in seventh and made several great passes late in the race. Austin Liggett, Smith, Hagopian, Jace VanderWeerd, Mynderup, Heath Duinkerken and Stan Yockey rounded out the top ten.
The NonWinged 600 saw a short field compete for 20 laps in their feature. Koen Shaw got the lead on the green over John Collins and Seth Hancock. The event was slowed by a stopped Annie DeRemer from Oregon on lap three. Shaw continued to lead Collins and Hancock before Nick Kemmer spun around in the third turn.
The final two thirds of the event went nonstop with DeRemer pitting on lap eight. Double duty driver Collins pestered Shaw finally taking over the top spot on lap fifteen. He led the final circuits to take the win with Kemmer finishing third ahead of Hancock.
Bryce Volpa set quick time in the Restricted 600 division with heat race wins going to Brayden Perry, Kaleb Montgomery, and Richard Weddle. The 20 lap feature saw a complete restart as Weddle spun in turn four from his front row starting spot.
Bakersfield’s Buddy Shepherd was the recipient of Weddled’s error as he gained the lead on the first lap over Brayden Trigueiro and Cole Christianson. The well conducted event Christianson move into second on lap seven before a yellow on lap thirteen saw class rookie Kaleb Montgomery hung up on the turn two infield berm.
Shepherd led the final seven laps to take his first feature win of the season followed by Christianson, Trigueiro, Giovanni Scelzi and Dalton Hill who came from fifteenth starting spot. At the checkered flag lap exactly below the flagman, Weddle was forced into the outside wall and flipped across the finish line ending a frustrating night for the youngster.
Junior Sprint racing for the younger guys and gals saw a rather short field of cars compete in two heat races which were won by Ryan Delisle and Kameron Beard. Their 20 lap feature almost started with a bang as several drivers tangle in turn three with rookie Davey Pombo on his side. All drivers returned to start the event.
As is sometimes the case regardless of car count, the young drivers showed their ability to control their racing machines with female driver Tanner Baker leading from the front row over Beard and newcomer Tyler Stidham. Beard dropped to third on lap three as Stidham shadowed every Baker move around the track.
Stidham took the top spot with a nice inside move going into turn one on lap nine to displace Baker as leader. Beard moved back into second on lap twelve over Ryan Delisle and Michael Wagner as Baker fell back. Lapping began with two laps remaining as Stidham drove like a veteran to take his first local win.
Rounding out the finishing order we found Beard, Delisle, Wagner and Baker the top five. Travis Talbot, Pombo, Bryson Berna and Bryce Eames rounded out the field.
The four class racing action continues next Friday night, April 8th on the fast 1/5 mile located at beautiful Plaza Park in Visalia.